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Am J Psychiatry. 1997 Jun;154(6):856-7.

Stress reactivity in bipolar patients and its relation to prior history of disorder.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, 90095-160, USA. hammen@psych.ucla.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Two questions were posed: Does stress precipitate episodes of bipolar I disorder, and does sensitivity to stress differ in episodes later in the course of illness compared to early ones?

METHOD:

Fifty-two patients with bipolar I disorder were followed longitudinally for up to 2 years; clinical course was monitored, and interview assessments of life events were made every 3 months.

RESULTS:

The patients who had episodes of illness during follow-up had experienced significantly more severe stressors and more total stress in the preceding 6 months, and more total stress in the preceding 3 months, than those without episodes. Inconsistent with Post's stress "sensitization" hypothesis, patients with more prior episodes were more likely to have episodes following major stressors, and they relapsed more rapidly.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stressors may precipitate episodes of bipolar illness, especially for patients with more prior episodes. Different versions of the stress sensitization model remain to be tested.

PMID:
9167516
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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